PHOENIX -- If the word unorthodox comes to mind while watching a D-backs game this August or September, don't be surprised. Maybe even expect it.
The D-backs (41-68) are 23 games back of their weekend opponent, the National League West-leading Padres, so while winning each day remains the goal, room exists for some level of experimentation.
"If you played this out and we were playing a championship season right now, I would manage these games according to my personnel," interim manager Kirk Gibson said prior to the series opener with San Diego on Friday. "In reality, a lot of the things that I do, is I'm trying to pressure our personnel into doing some things to find out whether they are comfortable with it or they can become comfortable with it. Once you realize that, you manage to your personnel, that's what all the good managers do."
That thought process explained, at least in part, this was Gibson's gamble in Thursday's fourth inning: The skipper called for a suicide squeeze with rookie starting pitcher Barry Enright at the plate and recently acquired Bobby Crosby standing on third base.
Long story made shorter: Enright whiffed on his sacrifice bunt attempt (on a 1-0 fastball) and Crosby, charging homeward, was caught stealing. Enright singled home Stephen Drew on the next pitch.
Gibson said there was still something to be gained, if not the desired result.
"Though we didn't execute it last night," Gibson said, building to a smile, "we're further than we were the other times that we [tried] it.
"We want to make sure that we have the different components. We want to be able hit and run. We want to be able to steal. We want to be able to put in the safety squeeze as well as the squeeze."